I've got some dirt on that cute little bear... July 27 2015, 0 Comments

Dryer Sheets were always a staple of doing laundry in my home growing up.  They made your clothes super soft and smelled so nice, what's not to like?  Well as I started to research, I found out... a lot!  

In Fact, Here's Something You Should Know:

I discovered a recent study that revealed that many of the top-selling commercially scented cleaning products you know the usuals, plug-in deodorizers, household cleaners, cosmetic products & lotions, all things laundry emit more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some that are classified as toxic or hazardous by federal laws.

Here's the kicker.  Be wary of words like  “natural” and“organic."  They were citied as emitting as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones.   Wha????  Nooooo!!!!!!

From the study:

“Steinemann and colleagues found the average number of VOCs emitted was 17. Each product emitted 1–8 toxic or hazardous chemicals, and close to half (44%) generated at least 1 of 24 carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants, such as acetaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde, or methylene chloride. These hazardous air pollutants have no safe exposure level, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Of the 133 VOCs detected, only ethanol was listed on any label (for 2 products), and only ethanol and 2-butoxyethanol were listed on any Material Safety Data Sheet (for 5 products and 1 product, respectively).

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which regulates cleaning supplies, air fresheners, and laundry products, currently does not require manufacturers to disclose any ingredients on the label, including fragrances in these products. The same is true for fragrances in personal care items, which are overseen by the Food and Drug Administration. The Household Product Labeling Act, currently under review in the U.S. Senate, would require manufacturers to label consumer products with all ingredients, including fragrance mixtures. “Disclosing all ingredients could be a first step to understanding potential toxicity and health effects,” says Steinemann.

So What Can You Do About It?

Well, data like that would convince the average joe to stop using toxic products in their home but I'm lazy and I'm the type that needs a little convincing.  And here are two major factors that definitely got me interested.  My awful dermatitis (but even that wasn't enough) and finally, MY KIDS!  Once I had little ones to think about I suddenly got very interested in making sure they weren't exposed to these household hazards.   After making a few changes I noticed an amazing by-product was... my skin was improving!  Now with healthier kids AND skin on the horizon, I started to see what else I could change in my problem.

Enter laundry.  It never occurred to me that what was rubbing up against my skin all day every day could be contributing to my problem.  I started subbing out dryer sheets for plain old vinegar for softening and brightening.  I LOVED IT and no, I didn't walk around smelling like a pickle.  I promise.  So here's the deal about homemade cleaners.  They only contain what YOU decide!  I think every OCD control freak just perked up (guilty).

But let's do better than vinegar from a plastic jug.  Because it's efficient and it's practical, but I am of the Pinterest generation and I want my pretty and I want my clothes smelling fine.  And don't we all?  So let's get started!  

Here's What You Need to Make Homemade Dryer Sheets


Shove some coffee filters into a jar (It can be plastic like those deli leftover containers.  But remember, Pinterest).  For reference, this is 50.  Oh, and you'll need a few other things.  

So my cast of characters is even more complicated than yours needs to be.  I have two conditioners pictured here only because I ran out of my Young Living conditioner so I needed to add a bit more from another brand.  However I'm not so sad I did because.... copiaba & vanilla conditioner mixed with coconut conditioner makes my eyes roll back in my head with euphoria.  So... if that's your cup of tea, mix away.  :)

Okay now let's get to it.  In a mixing bowl add 1.5 cups of Vinegar.

Then, Squeeze in 1 cup of Conditioner (or in my case, the mix of two).  NOW, this is the important part so listen up.  You'll need 3 cups of water to stir in.  But it needs to be HOT.  I used really hot, like nearly boiling water otherwise, the conditioner won't break up.  So if you get all flustered by having to wait for things, I suggest you turn on your kettle before you start this recipe.  Now, add in and then stir.  But don't do what I did and stir this vigorously.  Because then you'll end up with laundry softener all over your clothes.  I'm tempted to think I was FORCED to stir this vigorously by the clothes just CRYING OUT to experience this softening, blissful smelling action as soon as they could.  Well, no matter, into the laundry they go.  

Okay, now it's all mixed and frothy.  Perfect.  

Remember your coffee filters?  Okay find them and... I forgot to mention, you'll need another large empty jar (like 32 oz).  Pour your mixture over the coffee filters and then pour the excess into the big jar.  Somehow I got mixed up and filled my coffee filter jar to the top.  Well then I had very soupy coffee filters.  Not ideal.  So don't be like me.  Just pour in enough to cover.  You'll have lots left over.  Then just store both in your laundry room and throw one filter into the dryer with every load you want smelling fresh and feeling soft!  

Happy Laundry, Happy Lady!  

Note: If you've been washing with commercial detergents and softeners, your clothes might take a few washes for them to be stripped off.  So don't lose heart if you don't notice right away.  After awhile you'll feel the difference!